Gold Nanoparticles Illuminate Defects in 3D Printed Objects

Share this Article

Defects in 3D printed parts can cause all sorts of problems, but they’re often so small that they can’t be easily detected, if at all. Vanderbilt University researchers are the latest to tackle the issue of detecting defects in 3D printed objects, and have come up with a new way to make those defects visible – using gold. The team embedded gold nanoparticles inside 3D printing material; once an object is 3D printed, the gold nanoparticles show up as a deep maroon color, highlighting any defects.

“3D printed materials are becoming increasingly common in our day-to-day life, from consumer goods and products to even demonstrations of 3D-printed automobiles and homes,” said Kane Jennings, Chair and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “But there can be problems in the processing of 3D printed materials. Small defects or missing print layers can occur. These defects can compromise and weaken the structural integrity of the 3D printed products, causing failure.”

The research has been published in a paper entitled “Nondestructive Evaluation and Detection of Defects in 3D Printed Materials Using the Optical Properties of Gold Nanoparticles,” which you can access here. The scientists mixed the gold nanoparticles with a dissolved plastic polymer, then when the polymer hardened, it was extruded into filaments.

“It’s similar to the gold in your ring, but it has very unique optical properties that don’t degrade over time,” said civil engineering graduate student and lead author Cole Brubaker. “This is one of the first applications using gold for defect detection. We are able to inspect and detect defects that aren’t visible to the naked eye, using the optical properties of embedded gold nanoparticles. That’s a very critical step – being able to say ‘We have a defect. It’s right here.'”

After a part is 3D printed with the gold-mixed material, it is placed into a UV-Vis spectrophotometer to look for defects.

“We’re using the absorbance properties of the embedded gold nanoparticles,” Brubaker said. “You just scan light across the surface of the sample and see where the absorbance decreases inside, signaling a defect in that material. A defect can be found with one single nondestructive measurement. It’s very quick. It takes just a matter of seconds. We don’t have to rely on large sensing systems that have sensors placed all over the part.”

Authors of the paper include Brubaker, Jennings, Michael A. Davies, James R. McBride, Sandra J. Rosenthal, and Douglas E. Adams. The research was funded by the US Office of Naval Research, and patents are pending on the technology.

“There are tremendous possibilities for what we can do with this technology,” Jennings said. “We have demonstrated the 3D printed parts can be self-reporting. They self-report defects. We’re looking now at the possibility to do even more with these smart materials.”

Being able to easily locate defects in 3D printed parts will save money, time, and materials, and ensure that final parts are performing at their very best, with no unpleasant surprises cropping up after the part is put into use. According to the researchers, the gold nanoparticle technology can be used for numerous other applications, as well.

“What really gets me excited is the broad range of applications we can use this technology for,” said Brubaker. “We’ve just scratched the surface.”

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

[Source: Vanderbilt University]

 

Share this Article


Recent News

Volta Spark’s Universal Charging Cable Prototypes 3D Printed with Zortrax

Reality or Hype: 3D Printing Improving Performance in Sports Industry?



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Argonne National Lab Tests Weather Stations with Low-Cost Sensors and 3D Printed Components

For two years right out of college, I worked as an associate producer at a local CBS affiliate, and spent a lot of time learning the ins and outs of...

LLNL Researchers Bioprint Living Aneurysm and Watch it Heal Post-Op

Cerebral aneurysms, caused by the artery walls in the brain weakening, affect roughly one in every 50 people in the US, and are distinguished by a bulging blood vessel, which...

I-nteract Allows User to Design, Feel and 3D Print Objects in Mixed Reality

Due to their general ubiquity, it may not be readily apparent just how unintuitive computers are for the process of 3D computer aided design (CAD). A mouse or trackpad along...

Smallest 3D Printed Boat Yields Possibilities for Nanotechnology

We’ve seen some big 3D printed Benchy boats before, but I bet you’ve never seen one this small! A team of researchers from Leiden University in the Netherlands have published...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.